For over 40 years, the small Derbyshire town of Long Eaton has played host to a unique furniture-buying event. Now biannual, Long Point continues to attract the industry’s discerning buyers through a combination of quality exhibitors and intimate charm.
“Originally called Long Eaton Week, it later changed its name to Long Point to reflect its close resemblance to the American High Point furniture exhibition in North Carolina,” says Andrew Mitchell, the chairman of the shows’ organiser, the Long Eaton Guild of Furniture Manufacturers.
Situated within easy reach of much of the UK, just one mile from J25 of the M1, Long Eaton is known as the UK Centre of Quality Upholstery Manufacture, and its myriad factories, workshops and showrooms reflect a hub of industry that it still very much alive.
“Both events are held in furniture-manufacturing locations, making it easy for buyers to visit many of their suppliers,” Andrew continues.
“There’s always a waiting list of manufacturers and importers wishing to join the show, we just haven’t got the space. Those that are here report that they see a large number of their customers, plus new ones, for a fraction of the cost of doing major events.
“I’ve been in the industry for 65 years, and have participated in Long Eaton exhibitions for as long as I can remember. And I’ve enjoyed every one of them. Ask any guild member or guest, and they will confirm that Long Eaton is unique, relaxed and enjoyable. A survey some two years ago reported that over 95% of retailers viewed Long Point as important to their business, and while we don’t necessarily see all those buyers at every edition (especially the international guests), the atmosphere really is electric – the showrooms are buzzing with visitors, full of friendly banter and orders being written. It’s certainly become known as the UK’s most enjoyable furniture exhibition!”
Although the pandemic halted larger-scale events, Long Point’s cross-town format enabled it to spring back into life in September 2020, giving many exhibitors and buyers their first opportunity to meet face to face in many months. “Visitor numbers in May and September 2021 were up too,” says Andrew, “and many exhibitors reported record sales.
“I heard some great feedback from visitors, too, which was a great compliment, as it’s not easy organising these events! They included people saying Long Point was ‘the definitive quality furniture show’, and ‘the best event for seeing different high-end manufacturers’.”
This year’s Long Point shows will take place from 9-11th May (spring) and 19th-21st September (autumn).